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László Bölöni, the manager of Sporting's first team, noticed Ronaldo's dribbling at age 16 and gave him a promotion. 

It was quite challenging for him to adjust in Lisbon since Madeirans have a pronunciation that is very different from ours, according to Joao Marques de Freitas, a socio of Sporting who assisted the boy in moving to the city. Cristiano struggled in school, people made fun of him, and he resisted. He briefly considered leaving, but thankfully he persisted. He experienced a difficult period.

Ronaldo was so upset that he briefly went back to his home in Madeira, and this almost caused a breaking point. After receiving some motivation from Barros Sousa, he was once again on his way to become a legend and boarded the plane back to the mainland.


He then made history by playing for the club's first team, the B team, the under-16, under-17, and under-18 teams all in the same season.  A year later, on September 29, 2002, Ronaldo made his Premier League debut against Braga. On October 7, 2002, he scored twice against Moreirense in a 3-0 victory.

His representatives pitched the player to Barcelona president Joan Laporta and Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier throughout the 2002–03 season. Ronaldo and manager Arsène Wenger met at the Arsenal stadium in November to discuss a potential transfer. Wenger was interested in signing Ronaldo. Since success was not an accident. Ronaldo had an unmatched work ethic even as a young player.

Ronaldo was uncannily the most spectacular player on the field when Sporting Lisbon upset Manchester United in August 2003. His abilities and performance were noted by the then-Manager of the English team Manchester United, who went after him for a contract.

Ronaldo was originally intended to be purchased by United with a one-year loan to Sporting. The United players persuaded Ferguson to sign him after being positively impressed with him. Ferguson decided to give Sporting £12.24 million after the game in exchange for what he called "one of the most exciting young players" he had ever seen. In April 2013, Sporting honored Ronaldo by choosing him to be their 100,000th member, ten years after his left from the team.

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